Govt working on ICT driven masterplan

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

GOVERNMENT is working on an information communication technology (ICT) policy called Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Masterplan, aimed at exploiting the potential of the sector by 2030.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to take Zimbabwe to an upper-middle class economy by 2030.

“What we have been working on as a ministry is what we are calling the Smart Zimbabwe 2030 Masterplan. We have started work on this. In fact, we have completed
the draft paper and only last week, Thursday, we presented this paper to the private sector so that we work together on this roadmap,” ICT and Courier Services minister Kazembe Kazembe said while addressing Parliament on Wednesday.

“I think we should appreciate that there is not anything now that we can do that does not involve ICT. If we are to attain Vision 2030, we have to ensure that
we exploit the potential that ICTs have in transforming our economy, our social life and all aspects of life.”

Kazembe told legislators that the 2030 plan would revolve around sector-focused pillars such as smart education, smart agriculture, smart mining, smart ICT,
and smart transport, among others.

“The operationalisation of this masterplan would require a paradigm shift and this will entail all government ministries to work collectively in their various
sectors to develop smart solutions. So, in short, this is the plan that we are coming up with and we intend to take it to Cabinet before presenting it to the
public,” Kazembe said.

The need for a masterplan comes as Zimbabwe’s ICT sector has seen tremendous growth over the last few years.

This includes active mobile subscriptions of 12 134 455 out of a population of nearly 15 million, mobile penetration rate of 83,3%, a substantial increase in
mobile internet/data usage to 10 202 terabytes, active internet subscriptions at 8,4 million and an internet penetration rate of 57,9%.

These were some of the statistics as at end of the first quarter of this year. In terms of mobile money, during the same period, $3,44 billion from 391 903
588 transactions was processed during the first quarter. Daily, this translates to $38,24 million being transacted.

“When we say Smart Zimbabwe Masterplan, it is not done by ICT alone. It is a plan which will include all sectors. For us to say we have Smart Zimbabwe, it
will be when each and every sector is digital. So, if we take one pillar, for example the energy sector, we will form a committee which will be well versed in
that area; which will include some people from the ministry and all the stakeholders who are in the energy sector. This committee will produce a sub-plan
which will help us reach 2030 without power problems.

In terms of the potential job losses from having a more smart ICT-driven plan, Kazembe said “some jobs will be replaced, but unfortunately, the emergency of new technologies cannot be avoided”.

He said workers would need to update their skills in order to work in the newly-created jobs.

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